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CURRENT ISSUE

ARM MERCHANT SHIPS?
Should merchant ships transiting high risk areas carry small arms for defense against pirates?

Selected crew should be trained and have guns available
Professional armed security teams should be hired
No guns on merchant ships, ever

August 11, 2009

U.K. prevents LNG ship from sailing

The U.K. last week barred the 1974-built LNG carrier Margaret Hill (ex Hoegh Galleon, ex Mystic Lady) from sailing from Southampton.

According to U.K. media reports, the Environment Agency made the first use of its legal powers to stop the ship from sailing as it had reason to believe the ship was on its way to be broken up, despite the fact the operators had not sought approval for dismantling.

Waste ships containing hazardous materials can only be dismantled at properly authorized dismantling facilities in either the EU or an OECD country and cannot be sent to dismantling facilities in countries such as India or Bangladesh.

Liz Parkes, head of waste and resource management at the Environment Agency, said: "Prompt investigations carried out by Environment Agency officers using the intelligence provided by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has ensured that this ship does not leave the U.K. until we are clear about what is happening to it.

"We are continuing our discussions with those involved, including the finance company who recently took possession of the ship, to establish what is happening to it and to make them aware of the procedures that must be followed if they intend the ship to be exported for recycling," she is reported as saying.

According to the Equasis data base, the Margaret Hill is registered to a single-company Marshall Islands company. Hoegh LNG sold the ship to Maverick LNG Holdings in 2007. Hoegh said that time that the ship had been rebuilt in 1998 to high standards--which would seem to make it improbable that it should now be suspected of being a so-called "toxic ship." Maverick Holdings had plams to potentially convert the vessel to FSRU use. But there have been reports that Maverick LNG Holdings has sold the ship to cash buyer Argo.


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